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11/8/2007
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Consumers Flock To Online Comparison Shopping Sites

Web sites that allow comparison shopping drew 56% more traffic the week ending Nov. 3, compared with a year ago, according to Hitwise.

Web sites that allow comparison shopping may be increasing their market share.

Such sites drew 56% more traffic the week ending Nov. 3, 2007, compared with the week ending Nov. 4, 2006, according to Hitwise figures released Wednesday.

"As we enter the holiday shopping season, consumers are beginning to research potential gift purchases and compare prices earlier than last year, especially with retailers beginning to roll out seasonal promotions," Heather Dougherty, director of research at Hitwise, said in a statement. "Baby boomers are the main visitors of comparison shopping Web sites and our search-term data indicates that consumer electronics continue to be popular amongst these comparison shoppers."

The share of traffic from online users 45 years old and up rose 38% across the top comparison shopping sites for the week ending Nov. 3, 2007, compared with the same week in 2006.

Shopzilla saw the largest increase in traffic among visitors in that age group, with a 58% increase for the week ending Nov. 3, 2007, compared with the same week last year, according to Hitwise figures. NexTag experienced a 48% traffic increase. Yahoo Shopping received a 46% percent increase in traffic in the same time frame, the online intelligence company said.

Hitwise reported that Yahoo Shopping received the highest market share (20%) of visits among comparison shopping sites, with a market share increase of 44% compared with the same week last year. Smarter.com drew 15% of the market share, while BizRate attracted 14%, according to Hitwise.

Amazon, eBay, Target, Overstock.com, Wal-Mart, and JC Penney benefited most in terms of downstream traffic from the top comparison shopping Web sites.

Google referred 20% of visits to Hitwise's list of top comparison shopping Web sites, while Yahoo Search referred 14% for the week ending Nov. 3, 2007.

Laptop computers, Nintendo Wii, LCD TV, digital cameras, iPods, and Xbox 360 were the most popular product search terms to drive traffic to comparison shopping Web sites for the four weeks ending Nov. 3, 2007.

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